GCC declares Hezbollah a terrorist organization

GCC declares Hezbollah a terrorist organization
Updated 03 March 2016

GCC declares Hezbollah a terrorist organization

GCC declares Hezbollah a terrorist organization

RIYADH: The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) on Wednesday declared the Lebanon-based Shiite group Hezbollah a terrorist organization.
In a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), GCC Secretary-General Abdullatif bin Rashid Al- Zayani said the decision was a result of hostile acts being carried out by Hezbollah elements, including the recruitment of young people from Gulf states to sow discord and carry out terrorist acts.
He said recruits were being trained “to smuggle weapons and explosives, to incite sedition, disorder and violence in a flagrant violation of their sovereignty, security and stability” in GCC states, which includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
"The GCC states consider Hezbollah militias' practices in the Council's states and their terrorist and subversive acts being carried out in Syria, Yemen and Iraq contradict moral and humanitarian values and principles and the international law and pose a threat to Arab national security,” Al-Zayani said.
Gulf nations have taken a series of measures against Hezbollah since Saudi Arabia last month halted a $3 billion program funding French military supplies to Beirut.
Hezbollah is backed by Iran, which supports opposing sides to Riyadh in conflicts in Syria and Yemen.
Announcing the military funding cut last month, a Saudi official said the kingdom had noticed “hostile Lebanese positions resulting from the stranglehold of Hezbollah on the state.”
He specifically cited Lebanon’s refusal to join the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in condemning attacks on Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran in January.
Riyadh cut diplomatic ties with Tehran after Iranian fanatics burned the Saudi embassy and a consulate following the execution of a Shiite preacher Nimr Al-Nimr in the kingdom for terrorism.
Last week Saudi Arabia urged its nationals to leave Lebanon and avoid traveling there.
Qatar and Kuwait followed with similar travel advisories. But the United Arab Emirates went further, banning its nationals from travel to Lebanon and reducing diplomatic representation there.
Saudi Arabia last week extended sanctions on Hezbollah, freezing the assets and prohibiting dealings with three Lebanese nationals and four companies.
The GCC had already sanctioned Hezbollah in 2013, targeting residency permits and the movement’s financial and business activities in reprisal for its armed intervention in Syria.
Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah on Tuesday called on Saudi Arabia not to collectively punish Lebanon’s people just because Riyadh disagreed with his group’s policies.
In a televised address, Nasrallah said Saudi Arabia does not have “the right to sanction the Lebanese people because one particular party took a certain position.”

(Additional input from AFP)


Saudi authorities ready to receive travelers as travel ban ends

Saudi authorities ready to receive travelers as travel ban ends
Updated 13 min 51 sec ago

Saudi authorities ready to receive travelers as travel ban ends

Saudi authorities ready to receive travelers as travel ban ends
  • Saudia airlines says it completed preparations to operate flights to 71 destinations from 95 airports
  • Interior ministry said a ban on travel to countries where the virus is not under control still stands

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s passport authority on Sunday said it was ready to operate international flights at full capacity at the Kingdom’s land border crossings, sea and air ports, as a travel ban is set to end on Monday.
The Ministry of Interior announced that citizens would be permitted to travel and all ports would reopen as of 1 a.m.
The General Directorate of Passports said those wishing to travel outside the Kingdom are required to follow the instructions issued by the interior ministry depending on what category they fall into.
The categories include those who have received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, those who received one dose at least two weeks prior to travel, those recovering from the virus within six months from the date of travel, and citizens under 18-years-old provided they present a travel insurance policy approved by the Saudi Central Bank (SAMA), covering the risks of COVID-19 outside the Kingdom before travel.
Saudi Arabian Airlines said it has completed preparations to operate flights to 71 destinations from 95 airports, including 28 domestic and 43 international destinations.
The airline said since the beginning of the pandemic, it has operated more than 100,000 flights and transported more than 10 million passengers.
Its fleet is regularly sterilized using UVC disinfection systems and all crew have been vaccinated.
The General Authority of Civil Aviation said that around 385 flights are expected to operate throughout the Kingdom’s airports on Monday.
Meanwhile, the interior ministry said travel to a number of countries, directly or via another country, is still banned without prior permission.
In January, the ministry banned travel to Libya, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Iran, Turkey, Armenia, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Afghanistan, Venezuela, Belarus, and India were the outbreak is till not under control or were the mutated strain is being spread.


Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister discusses Palestine with US Secretary of State Blinken

Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister discusses Palestine with US Secretary of State Blinken
Updated 30 min 4 sec ago

Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister discusses Palestine with US Secretary of State Blinken

Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister discusses Palestine with US Secretary of State Blinken
  • They reviewed strategic bilateral relations and ways to enhance them in all fields
  • The two ministers also discussed developments in Palestine and the region

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan has discussed Israel’s bombing of Gaza with US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, the Kingdom’s foreign ministry said on Sunday.
During the phone call, the two ministers reviewed the strategic relations between their two countries and ways to enhance them in all fields.
They also discussed the most prominent developments, foremost of which are developments in Palestine and the region.


Jeddah Eagles’ Tala Al-Ghamdi dreams of a future with Saudi squad

Jeddah Eagles’ Tala Al-Ghamdi dreams of a future with Saudi squad
Updated 16 May 2021

Jeddah Eagles’ Tala Al-Ghamdi dreams of a future with Saudi squad

Jeddah Eagles’ Tala Al-Ghamdi dreams of a future with Saudi squad
  • The 21-year-old has already won the inaugural Women’s Football League with her club in November 2020

JEDDAH: Tala Al-Ghamdi is making up for lost time. Not only for herself, but for all Saudi female footballers.

The launch of the Women’s Football League (WFL) in November 2020 brought together 600 players from 24 teams in Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam, finally giving Saudi female players the opportunities and recognition they deserve on a national level.

In a short period of time, Al-Ghamdi, who plays for Jeddah Eagles, the winners of the inaugural WFL, has become one of the game’s most promising talents.

Her passion for football and her determination to see women’s football advance in Saudi Arabia began when she first kicked a ball at the age of six.

“I was always into sports, it was a part of my family as well,” said Al-Ghamdi. “We watched various local and international sports tournaments in the country. But, specifically, it was football that I enjoyed the most when I was playing with my relatives, even though girls were not encouraged to be involved with sports. When I was younger, I played with my cousins and the boys in the neighborhood.”

Determined to pursue a career in the sport she joined Jeddah Eagles at the age of 19, where she was given the opportunity to play in the Jeddah Women’s League. Today, three years after joining the team, Al-Ghamdi is competing in the first WFL.

“In my childhood, when we played with the boys they used to put the girls in the position of goalkeeper, but I trusted my abilities and skills, which I believed were good enough for me to be part of the team,” she said.

Al-Ghamd admits that without the support of her parents, she wouldn’t be where she is today.

“When I was young, I just imagined playing football. I continued playing until academies and women’s football competitions started being organised in Jeddah.”

Today, while Al-Ghamdi is thankful that the wider society has changed to the extent that it accepts women’s football, she feels that there is room for more support.

“There’s a lot to be done, honestly,” she said. “The grassroots and younger teams are going in the right direction. Mainly, we need to first accept women’s football culturally. We have all the facilities, the government allows us to play the game and the leadership is supportive, providing all the facilities. But it would make a world of difference if the whole country got behind the game.”

Her ambition is to eventually represent her country at regional and international tournaments. While the Saudi Arabia Football Federation has yet to set up a women’s senior national team, she says she would continue to contribute to the growth of the game and make sure she reaches her personal best.

“For me, the dream would be to play for the Saudi national team,” she said. “But realistically, I really wish to see Saudi women’s football get to the level it deserves. We are on the right path and, if we continue working hard, we will get there.”

Al-Ghamdi has called for the support of women’s football to match the ambitions of Saudi female players who are currently playing in the WFL.

The future is certainly looking brighter on that front with recent developments at continental level that should have a positive impact on the game inside the kingdom.

The latest AFC Women’s Club Licensing criteria are part of the AFC Club Licensing Regulations (Edition 2021), which were ratified by the confederation’s executive committee in January and are expected to have a similar game-changing impact to that on the men’s game, with a focus on sporting, infrastructure, personnel, administrative, legal and financial requirements.

This opens up the possibility of Al-Ghamdi and other Saudi female footballers participating in the newly announced AFC Women’s Champions League, set to kick off in 2023, and which promises to become Asia’s premier women’s club tournament.

“This is very encouraging news and I hope to represent my favorite club, which is Al-Ittihad,” she said.

The 21-year-old right-back also revealed the local and international players she looks up to.

“My role model in world football is Trent Alexander-Arnold, the Liverpool player, for being the modern right-back, and my favorite local player is the rising star Saud Abdel Hamid from Al-Ittihad football club, as he also plays in the position in which I play.”

For now, Al-Ghamdi’s vision for the future of the game remains simple and inclusive.

“My dream is that any girl in Saudi Arabia should have the opportunity to enjoy sport to the maximum and to see the Saudi national team in international tournaments.”


Saudi Arabia condemns Afghan mosque bombing during Eid Al-Fitr

Saudi Arabia condemns Afghan mosque bombing during Eid Al-Fitr
Updated 16 May 2021

Saudi Arabia condemns Afghan mosque bombing during Eid Al-Fitr

Saudi Arabia condemns Afghan mosque bombing during Eid Al-Fitr
  • A bomb ripped through a mosque in northern Kabul during Friday prayers killing 12 worshippers
  • Saudi foreign minister receives call from his Afghan counterpart

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia on Sunday said it condemns and denounces an explosion inside a mosque on the outskirts of the Afghan capital Kabul that killed at least 12 people and wounded 15.
Daesh claimed responsibility for the attack in Shakar Dara district, as worshippers gathered for Friday prayers on the second day of the Eid Al-Fitr holiday.
The attack also occurred during a three-day cease-fire for the Muslim holiday declared by the Taliban.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the Kingdom stands in solidarity with Afghanistan in combating violence, extremism and terrorism, adding that it rejects “these criminal acts that are inconsistent with all religious principles and moral and human values.”
The ministry offered condolences to the families of the deceased and the Afghan government and people, and wished the injured a speedy recovery.
Also on Sunday, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan received a phone call from his Afghan counterpart Mohammad Hanif Atmar.
During the call, they reviewed relations between their two countries, and opportunities to develop them in various fields.
They also discussed a number of regional issues, developments in Palestine, and other international developments.


Gaza bombardment causes widespread death, destruction

Gaza bombardment causes widespread death, destruction
Updated 16 May 2021

Gaza bombardment causes widespread death, destruction

Gaza bombardment causes widespread death, destruction
  • Israeli missiles completely destroyed three homes — two of them belonging to the Al-Kulak family and the other to the Abu Al-Auf family

GAZA CITY: For the seventh day in a row, Israeli warplanes on Sunday bombed various parts of the Gaza Strip, causing widespread destruction and killing dozens of Palestinians, many of them women and children.

In the fiercest wave of bombing, warplanes targeted Al-Wehda Street in the center of Gaza City after midnight, killing 42 Palestinians, including 16 women and 10 children, and wounding about 50 others.

Israeli missiles completely destroyed three homes — two of them belonging to the Al-Kulak family and the other to the Abu Al-Auf family.

Dalal Al-Kulk, 33, and her 2-year-old son were among the survivors of the bombardment. She could not talk after her husband Mohammed and three of her daughters were killed.

Her father Ahmed Al-Maghribi waited outside the destroyed house for the bodies of the three daughters to be removed.

They had remained under the rubble for about 15 hours before they were removed by the Palestinian Civil Defense.

“I can’t describe my feelings of sadness, fear and anger. My daughter is now in shock. Her husband and three of grandchildren are martyrs,” Al-Maghribi said.

“I don’t know how they’ll live the rest of their lives. Our life in Gaza is full of fear, terror. There’s no safety anywhere. Every person here on the street carries his own story, all of them pain and exhaustion.”

The Palestinian Ministry of Health on Sunday evening said 192 Palestinians had been killed since the start of the Israeli bombardment, including 58 children and 34 women.

Israeli warplanes targeted a building hundreds of meters from Al-Wehda Street, causing partial destruction and killing at least one of its residents.

Ayah Aloul, 25, was lying in hospital next to her mother. They were injured by the bombing after the death of Aloul’s father.

“I’m very afraid … The bombing began violently in the area where I live. Suddenly I found myself in the street with my mother, and above us was a lot of rubble,” Aloul told Arab News.

“I started with all my strength to lift the rubble off me. I don’t know where all this strength came from,” she added.

“I started running until I found a street with lights on. I started screaming loudly until the neighbors came, and I told them I want to get my mother out from under the rubble, but they insisted that they take me by ambulance to the hospital. I saw my mother in the hospital shortly after.” Referring to her wounds, Aloul said: “I don’t know how I’ll live with my face like this.”